Tonight I had just gotten back from a run (the rain held off all day!) and I wanted something light and quick for dinner. I decided on one of my favorite salads that has countless variations. I have made this salad for holiday dinners and brought it to bbq’s… and it is always a crowd pleaser. You can change up the ingredients based on what you have on hand or what is fresh at the market.
It always starts with a base of washed baby spinach
Then fruit… either apples, pears or berries, sliced up. I used the diced cinnamon apples left over from this morning’s breakfast (see recipe here). My mom puts the apples and cinnamon in a gallon size zip top bag (left open an inch or two) and microwaves them for 30 seconds or so to save time.
Next comes the cheese… use a strong cheese like blue cheese, I used feta.
I tossed in some dried mixed berries for sweetness (cranberries and blueberries mostly. I ate all of the dried strawberries… oops)
Then I diced up some tomatoes as well and added them on top
Candied walnuts also go great with this salad… a few tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/4 cup walnuts… wrap in foil and put them in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 mins… you start to smell them when they are close to done. Keep an eye on them though, they go from golden to burnt in a matter of seconds
Then comes my favorite part… the dressing. I like to make mine in a glass mason jar. You add all of the ingredients and close the lid tight… then shake it until it’s mixed. It will keep in the fridge for a few weeks; just shake it up each time before use.
Maple Balsamic Dressing
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons maple syrup
top salad with the shaken up dressing just before eating
Spinach Salad with Apples and Dried Berries
1 bag baby spinach
1/4 cup crumbled feta (more or less based on your preference)
2 apples diced and cooked with cinnamon
1/4 cup dried fruit
2 small tomatoes diced
1/4 candied walnuts (optional)
Maple Balsamic Dressing (see recipe above)
Toss all ingredients together in a bowl, top with dressing just before serving and enjoy!